Sunday, April 7, 2019

REVIEW: 'Veep' - Selina and the Other Candidates Make an Appeal to a Wealthy Donor in 'Discovery Weekend'

HBO's Veep - Episode 7.02 "Discovery Weekend"

At an Aspen retreat for rich donors, Selina deals with potential adversaries and allies. Amy's behavior raises Gary's suspicions.

In 2018, there were 495 scripted shows airing amongst the linear channels and streaming services. The way people are consuming content now is so different than it used to be. It happens according to one's own schedule. As such, there is less necessity to provide ample coverage of each specific episode in any given season from a show. Moreover, it is simply impossible to watch everything. As such, this site is making the move to shorter episodic reviews in order to cover as many shows as possible. With all of that being said, here are my thoughts on the next episode of HBO's Veep.

"Discovery Weekend" was written by Billy Kimball & Eric Kenward and directed by Dale Stern

Selina sees herself as the frontrunner in the race to become President. She saw herself in that position the last time she ran for the office too. She was the sitting Vice President when she launched that campaign. She only ended up getting her party's nomination because she became President after Hughes resigned from office. She was eventually voted out of office though. She failed to win the office on her own merits amongst the voters. She is desperately hoping that things will be different this time around. And yes, there is certainly the feeling that this primary is different from the last one she competed in. But it also shows the depth of the potential nominees and just how difficult it is for her to gain any momentum whatsoever. The sixth season finale suggested that it may be a race between Selina and Jonah for the office. But the season premiere showed Tom James also getting into the race. There are even more candidates running now. Selina can brag that she is up 18 points in comparison to Tom James. But this episode presents it as a competition between them. That mentality makes it so easy for both of them to lose because they aren't paying close attention to the overall field. They are too caught up in their own interests. It's so easy for them to fall back into familiar patterns. Whenever Selina and Tom are alone together, they began to act more and more romantic. Now, that really isn't a healthy dynamic at all. It's unclear if the audience is suppose to see them as a great pairing that simply can't be together because of their own political ambitions. It certainly complicates this race. It means that Tom is able to surprise Selina and throw her off her rhythm right before giving a major speech. It highlights how cynical a person has to be in order to survive in politics. Senator Talbot doesn't resort to any of these kinds of dirty tricks in order to ultimately get the support of tech financier Felix Wade. She just happens to be the other candidate at this summit making the play for his wealthy connections and backing. Selina and Tom see it as the way to actually fund their campaigns. They are more than willing to take dark money in order to finance their dreams of making it into the Oval Office. They aren't even trying to make it seem as if they are grounded and wholesome. Sure, Felix loves hosting this summit at a forest retreat with square-dancing, walks in the woods and marshmallow roasting. Selina doesn't really know how to do any of those things. But she is more than willing to look a little ridiculous in order to win in the end. She will entertain any notion with the hope that it could help her campaign. She writes off her staff completely when they suggest Senator Talbot as a running mate for the ticket. Selina doesn't believe a two-women ticket can win. That's simply not politics as usual. The voters would never accept it. But then, she is making that appeal to Felix because she wants to be the candidate who stands out in this crowded field. She is so desperate even though she is frequently going around talking about nothing substantial. Plus, there is the show's overall approach to the #MeToo era and how people are inherently just using this for reasons that can help them personally. It doesn't derail Jonah's campaign at all even though he has to get out of New Hampshire as quickly as possible. It's not really an effective story though. It mostly feels like the show trying to reflect the current political environment even though it's now incredibly difficult for fiction to be more ridiculous and insane than reality.